Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos cycadifolius

Encephalartos cycadifolius (Jacq.) Lehm., Pugill. 6: 13 (1834). ?

Encephalartos cycadifolius var. glaber Regel, Trudy Imp. S.-Petersburgsk. Bot. Sada 3: 111 (1873).

TYPE: E. cycadifolius cited.

Photo Ken Hill

Etymology: Cycadis, a Latinised form of Cycas, with the Latin folius, leaf, in reference to the Cycas-like leaves.




Historical notes: Described as a species of Zamia in 1801 by French botanist -- Jaquin.

Distinguishing features: The narrow entire leaflets are distincive, but can be confused with E. ghellinckii and E. friderici-guilielmi. E. ghellinckii usually has even narrower leaflets that can be distinguished by the recurved margins. E. cycadifolius can be separated from E. friderici guilielmi by erect crown of stiff leaves with usually shorter and narrower leaflets, and the absence of thick wool from the crown. Stems are also shorter, and cones fewer in number.

Distribution and habitat: Widespread in eastern Cape Province, in grassland on shallow soils over shale mountain slopes.

Conservation: 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants category V.


Plants acaulescent; stem 1 m tall, 30 cm diam.

Leaves 100 cm long, blue green, dull, slightly keeled or flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 150-180° on rachis); rachis yellowish, straight, stiff, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.

Leaflets linear, strongly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal or obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 9-12 cm long, 4-6 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-2, ovoid, yellow, 15-20 cm long, 5-8 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-2, ovoid, yellow, 20-30 cm long, 16-18 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 25-30 mm long, 15-20 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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